I can't believe I have literally never brought this topic up on Think Atheist before and I think its worth looking at. 

There is a notion (arguably an assumption) that we on Think Atheist and all atheist themed forums a like, spend our time agreeing with everything we have to discuss and say on our forum. 

I've often suggested that members on Yahoo Answers check us out as a debating space. Many have suspected that the forum might be a bit biased and have even said "Well it sounds like a good idea, but whats the point with debating with a bunch of people who are going to agree with me anyway?"

What do you think people? Are we just a community of yes men (and yes women)? Or better yet, what do we as an online community disagree with exactly? I know that I myself have posted some arguably unpopular views that not everyone would side with. But how do the rest of you feel about this?

You might find each others lack of faith quite agreeable, but what about the other issues? 

Tags: agree, atheists, biased, debate, disagree, non-members, opinions, religious, think

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The only commonality of this forum is our member's lack of belief in the existence of god(s), although we welcome deists and theists to participate. Politically some of us are more conservative on issues, like gun ownership/control for instance.  Others have issues with the militant 'in your face' atheists. We are a diverse lot and it makes for more engaging conversation. I believe many TA members would grow bored if we were continually agreeable. Food for thought without spice is rather bland.

"Food for thought without spice is rather bland."

I like that, well said. I think the comparison between militant and more moderate or agnostic atheists (such as myself) is a very important point to be made

I think the comparison between militant and more moderate or agnostic atheists (such as myself) is a very important point to be made

I don't want to read too much into what looks like an offhand remark, but I don't think the distinction is important, any more than I think there are militant atheists.

Religious who use violence and extremes are rightfully called militant in their methods. But consider the methods of high-profile figures such as Hitchens or Dawkins. They write books and articles, have debates, do interviews, and things like that. On what basis could the word 'militant' be justly appled to them?

There are outspoken atheists. Atheism can be stapled to other causes which may be militant. But militant atheists? Being militant for atheism itself? I don't know of any. Do you?

mil·i·tant
ˈmilətənt/
adjective
  1. 1.
    combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.
    ...with the emphasis on being confrontational in the case of atheists who aggressively challenge theist's claims....
mil·i·tant
ˈmilətənt/
adjective
  1. 1.
    combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.
    ...with the emphasis on being confrontational in the case of atheists who aggressively challenge theist's claims....

Even allowing for the emphasis on confrontation alone, and setting aside the violence and extremism which are associated with militancy:

I don't think it's a just description of Dawkins and Hitchens to say they are combative and aggressive, typically favoring confrontational methods. 

I think 'combative, aggressive and typically favoring confrontational methods' justly describes the favored method of the WBC (of God hates fags fame) in picketing the funerals of US soldiers to thank God for their deaths. I think it justly describes a Christian pastor who typically burns korans to insult Muslims (not that I blame him for the riots).

Typically, we find Dawkins and Hitchens writing books, speaking before eager audiences, and engaged in civil (if sometimes pointed) debates with voluntary opponents. I find this to be novel, but not militant. I think the militant misnomer is applied because public figures who advocate for atheism itself are so few.

I find it a telling double-standard that the religious whom they engage-- such as Hitchens versus William Lane Craig or Dawkins versus Medhi Hasan-- generally are not considered to be militants, despite having the same behaviors (of writing, speaking, and debating) as advocates for religion.

Surely we have more examples of 'militant' atheists.

I remember a seminar I sat in on once early 80's, given by the local Seventh Day Adventists. The primary point of the seminar was "revelations'. During this they listed a few folks, or them that were considered 'militant' atheists, which included Voltarie, what a pussy cat...   


It is important. Agnostic atheists aren't making a claim; thats the difference and that is very important. 


But I'd rather not get into that debate again here, the issue was touched in my "Intellectual Snobbery" discussion 

It is important. Agnostic atheists aren't making a claim; thats the difference and that is very important.

Well, actually they are. Agnostic atheists are atheists because they don't believe in God and agnostic because they're making a claim: the existence of God is unknowable in principle or fact. But I don't think that's what you mean.

I think you mean the important difference between hard atheism and soft atheism; disbelief through the positive claim that 'there is no God' versus disbelief through ignorance or rejection of the God claim (for lack of evidence).

If so, I disagree with the way you apply the nomenclature. I just don't think a hard atheist necessarily equates to a militant one.

The only arguably 'hard atheist' I know of as a public figure is Victor J. Stenger, for authoring a book that presents the scientific case against theism. I would not describe Stenger as a militant (or a snob).

But I'd rather not get into that debate again here, the issue was touched in my "Intellectual Snobbery" discussion

I don't think that thread covered the same issue, but consider it dropped.

I'm an agnostic atheist and I make the claim that God doesn't exist (the atheist part), but I keep my mind open in case anyone has evidence or proof otherwise (the agnostic part).

There is a notion (arguably an assumption) that we on Think Atheist and all atheist themed forums a like, spend our time agreeing with everything we have to discuss and say on our forum. 

Whoever makes this claim has clearly never seen a thread with both Unseen and Archie commenting.

If this website were a book, they had judged it by its cover (or rather title in this case)

The problem is that most Theists have a very poor understanding of what Atheism is. However they are the ones that all fall silent when a bell rings. They must agree with each other on matters of faith or else a schism happens and they form a new cult with new beliefs…that they all agree upon. They base their philosophy of life upon these strictly defined beliefs. So they become the ultimate yes-men. This leaves them with a very simple view of the world based on the “goddidit” principle. Everything they believe is fixed upon a foundation that is imaginary (a myth, a delusion).

Theists will of course disagree with this. When they debate what I just claimed is a delusion they will be compelled to dismiss it. They will all agree that I am wrong because they cannot think freely enough to understand what I am saying. They would have to suspend their belief system for long enough to challenge my statement on an intellectual level (i.e. think critically). That would start a drip feed of Doubt which could soon swamp them. They have all been prepped to see doubt as a temptation by the devil or something “bad” that must be prayed away immediately. So they retreat from the debate by playing the faith card and claiming victory.

They will recount this tale of “take that atheist” to their peers who will all agree with them. The room with rock to the sound of “praise be Jesus” and they will soon be on the knees reciting the same prayers to the same imaginary god. They will still think they are all different and hold different beliefs but that is only because they have no concept of what confirmation bias is. They will all seem different to each other because none of them are really part of a religion. No, they all just have a personal relationship with their own subjective version of Jesus.

You might like to read some of the debates on their websites just to see how they do it. Try this one for starters and see if it stimulates your mind….lol.

What I like most about this site is that nobody will hold back if they disagree with me. I want my ideas to be kicked apart. I am here to learn, to challenge and to be challenged. From what I can make out so is almost everyone else. We understand the difference between attacking a belief and ad hominem attacks on the person. We don’t need blasphemy laws to protect them from scrutiny.

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